Severe Weather Awareness Week GA: Feb. 6 is tornado safety day - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Severe Weather Awareness Week GA: Feb. 6 is tornado safety day

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GEMA's Ready Georgia urges Georgians to prepare during Severe Weather Awareness Week by determining safest place in home to take refuge 

(ATLANTA) – Last year, Georgia experienced several tornadoes, causing injury and property and crop damage. In March alone, our state was pummeled by eight tornadoes resulting in $12.6 million in property damage. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), tornadoes are the No. 1 severe weather-related killer in Georgia.

Feb. 6 is Tornado Safety Day, part of Severe Weather Awareness Week. Governor Nathan Deal, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA), and NWS urge all residents to learn how to prepare for and respond to tornadoes. Throughout Severe Weather Awareness Week, officials are encouraging Georgians to take one simple action each day to get prepared. During Tornado Safety Day, they recommend that everyone determine the safest place in their homes to take refuge from a potentially deadly tornado.

Prepare a Home Tornado Plan

  • Pick a place where family members could gather if a tornado is headed your way. It could be your basement or, if there is no basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.
  • If you are in a high-rise building, you may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor. Pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.

Remember, a storm can strike suddenly and it may occur when family members are in different places. The best thing to do to protect yourself and your family is to have a plan of action before a threatening tornado develops. 

Assemble a Ready Kit that Includes

  • First aid kit and essential medications.
  • Non-perishable food and can opener.
  • At least three gallons of water per person per day.
  • Protective clothing, bedding or sleeping bags.
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Items for infants.
  • Special items for elderly or disabled family members, such as extra eyeglasses, medications, insurance information and items for service dogs.
  • Written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas, and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you'll need a professional to restore natural gas service.)

 Stay Tuned for Storm Warnings

  • Monitor NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for the latest weather forecasts, or download the Ready Georgia mobile app.
  • Tornado WATCHES and WARNINGS are issued by NWS. Know what a tornado WATCH and WARNING means:
    • A tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area.
    • A tornado WARNING means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed for your area. Go to safety immediately. 

When a Tornado WATCH is Issued

  • Monitor NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for the latest weather forecasts, or download the Ready Georgia mobile app.
  • Be alert to changing weather conditions. Blowing debris or the sound of an approaching tornado may alert you. Many people say it sounds like a freight train. 

When a Tornado WARNING is Issued

  • If you are inside, go to the safe place and protect yourself from glass and other flying objects. The tornado may be approaching your area.
  • If you are outside, hurry to the basement of a nearby sturdy building or lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area and use your arms to protect your head.
  • If you are in a car or mobile home, get out immediately and head for safety.

 After the Tornado Passes

  • Watch out for fallen power lines and stay out of the damaged area.
  • Listen to the radio for information and instructions.
  • Use a flashlight to inspect your home for damage.
  • Do not use candles at any time.

To help families prepare, Ready Georgia, a statewide emergency preparedness campaign established by GEMA, offers the tools needed to make an emergency supply kit, develop a communications plan and stay informed about potential threats. Visitors to Ready Georgia's website, www.ready.ga.gov, can create an online profile to receive a tailored plan for the entire family that includes the specific amount of supplies to put in their household Ready kits. They can also find local emergency contact information, learn about Georgia-specific disasters and read preparedness testimonials from local sports stars. Children's games and activities can be found on the ReadyKids page, and households with elderly or disabled family members and pets will also find specific information on preparing for severe weather. For preparedness on the go, families can also download Ready Georgia's free mobile app to learn how to prepare for emergencies, create family communications plans and more.

For more information on how to prepare for severe weather visit, www.ready.ga.gov or www.srh.noaa.gov/ffc or download Ready Georgia's free mobile app. To learn about specific risks in your area, contact your local emergency management agency.

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